Kudos to State College Borough! They have earned Platinum Certification, currently the highest performance level in the Sustainable Pennsylvania Community Certification program. The Borough was previously recognized at the Gold level of certification for meeting the program’s rigorous performance criteria. State College Borough has had a longstanding commitment to sustainability in operations, management, and provision of public services through numerous innovative actions.
As a testament to their understanding of the importance of sustainability as a governance strategy, State College Borough created a formal Sustainability Committee, supported by the Borough Council and management, and it guides their municipal work. This committee laudably defines sustainability as “using best practices to create lasting environmental, economic, societal and fiscal vitality as part of State College’s overall mission to enhance the quality of life by fostering a safe, vibrant, diverse and sustainable community; by providing quality, innovative, cost-effective services; and by allocating resources efficiently with professionalism, integrity, transparency and accountability.”
Initiatives that are ongoing in State College (far too numerous to list in their entirety) include:
- Achieving Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold Standard for the Municipal Building in 2015.
- Participating in the first cohort of the National League of Cities’ Race, Equity, and Leadership (REAL) program, a program designed to ensure every local official is equipped to effectively lead and serve an inclusive, thriving and healthy community.
- Maintaining a Human Relations Commission and an LGBTQ Advisory Committee.
- Constructing local rain gardens to minimize stormwater runoff.
- Outlining greenhouse gas emissions reduction goals in an official resolution and working with partners to complete a community-wide greenhouse gas inventory.
- Establishing the first municipality-wide food waste collection and composting program on the East Coast.
- Creating the State College Community Land Trust in 1996 and assisting in the development of their new Greenbuild program, that includes selling reasonably priced “Zero Energy Ready Homes” to low/moderate income residents.
“The mayor and borough council members have been strong advocates for sustainability, and as a result, State College has a long history of focusing on sustainability,” Borough Manager Tom Fountaine said. “Being recognized as a Platinum Certified Community by the Sustainable Pennsylvania Community Certification program shows that we’ve made measurable strides towards our sustainability goals. We are honored to be recognized by our peers as a leading community in this field.”
The Sustainable Pennsylvania Community Certification is intended to bring recognition to municipalities that are implementing the policies and practices of sustainability to advance community and regional prosperity. Sustainable Pittsburgh and Pennsylvania Municipal League are proud to have State College represented in the top tier of sustainable communities.